Working Groups Form and Process

Working Groups Form and Process

This Document

This governing document defines the form and process of Working Groups in very general terms. Working Groups are the heart of every Transition Initiative, including Transition Port Angeles. Working Groups coalesce around a concrete project, and work at their project until it is finished. During this process, they choose their own name, pick their own objectives, and work at their own pace. Working Groups dissolve when they feel their project is complete. This is discussed in more general terms in the governing document The Path of Transition Port Angeles.

Focus and Form

While the focus and form of Working Groups is up to the members of the groups, it may be helpful to describe certain facets of Working Groups.

Every Working Group must have a real and concrete project as its focus as well as a real and concrete result that will benefit Port Angeles. Working Groups are outward-focused and committed to realizing visible progress.

No Working Group is to be administrative or otherwise focused on the inward functioning of the Initiative, to avoid violating the principle of subsidiarity*. This will help prevent the rise of entrenched leadership, which would invariably damage the vitality and forward momentum of the entire Initiative.

*Subsidiarity is discussed in the governing document Operating Principles of Transition Port Angeles.

Every Working Group is in charge of its own process, especially the ability to resolve conflicts, either by the conflict resolution methods established in the Charter, or an alternate method. In order to be self-organizing, a Working Group must also be self-sufficient in terms of its procedure and process.

A Working Group’s project might require funds in order to pursue its completion. Although seed money could be available from Friends of Transition Port Angeles*, each group should pursue funding for its project on the merits of the project itself. Handling donated funds requires transparency and accountability within every Working Group.

*Friends of Transition Port Angeles is discussed in the governing document Friends of Transition Port Angeles Governing Document.

Overall, members of Working Groups must remember that they represent the entirety of Transition Port Angeles. Their actions and objectives reflect upon the rest of the Initiative, the Charter and the Transition process itself.

Representatives

Working Groups must organize and build mutual trust* from the very beginning. Once mutual trust is at a comfortable level, the group should reach consensus* about someone to represent the group on the Initiating, Steering, or Core Group*. Once selected, the representative automatically joins the Initiating, Steering, or Core Group.

Mutual trust and consensus are discussed in the governing document Operating Principles of Transition Port Angeles. The Initiating Group is discussed in the governing document Initiating Group Form, Process, and Demise. The Steering Group is discussed in the governing document Steering Group Form, Process, and Demise. The Core Group is discussed in the governing document Core Group Form and Process.

As a Working Group builds consensus about its representative, it should seek to keep the Initiating, Steering, or Core Group informed so that the new representative doesn’t unexpectedly arrive at a meeting. Additionally, sudden turnovers of large numbers of representatives seriously strain positive group dynamics and mutual trust. How to address these issues is left to the Initiating, Steering, or Core Group.

Members of the former Initiating Group are explicitly prohibited from becoming Working Group representatives for one year after they step down from their original roles. This is done to ensure that the Initiative comes into its own, and prevent attempts to establish entrenched leadership.

Representatives should be familiar with the Charter, as well as The Transition Handbook or The Transition Primer. It is assumed that representatives agree with their spirit and the spirit of the Transition process itself.

Creation

           Process

All it takes is a few interested, committed people to start a new Working Group. Together they:

  • Create a short description about the new Group – its project, mission, process, and members – and submit it to the Initiating, Steering, or Core Group, whichever is in existence at the time.
  • Meet with the Initiating, Steering, or Core Group, to establish a connection and discuss the proposed Working Group.

Once recognized as a part of Transition Port Angeles, the new Working Group is off and running!

In rare instances, the Initiating, Steering, or Core Group may agree or decline, by consensus, to recognize the proposed Working Group as part of Transition Port Angeles. Declining may only be made if the would-be group demonstrates fundamental and explicit conflict with the spirit of the Charter or the Transition process. In such cases, it is incumbent upon both groups to work together to resolve the conflict.

The proposed Working Group can still form after being declined, but it cannot claim, either explicitly or implicitly, to be a part of Transition Port Angeles.

Spinning Off

Some projects will begin as a Working Group and then evolve into something else. For example, a group focused on building a local currency might decide to become the issuer and guardian of that currency. In which case, it is no longer a Working Group, but has emerged as a crowning success of Transition Port Angeles.

Spinning off of Working Groups is a wonderful part of the process that deserves to be celebrated. The Initiating, Steering, or Core Group should provide all necessary support for the group to successfully spin off.

Spinning off is a lot like graduation; a group may acknowledge its roots in Transition Port Angeles, but it is on its own.

Dissolution

A Working Group may dissolve for positive reasons, or less commonly, for something negative. A very positive ending comes once group has completed its project. When the Working Group informs the Steering or Core Group that its mission has been accomplished, its dissolving is a cause for celebration!

If a Working Group somehow gets off track and is working at fundamental and demonstrable odds to the spirit of the Charter and the Transition process, the Initiative as a whole needs to intervene.

Any intervention shall be guided by the Initiating, Steering, or Core Group, whichever is in existence at the time. It will make every effort to ensure the Working Group is healed, and returned to its initial purpose. However, if the situation should require it, the Initiating, Steering, or Core Group may withdraw recognition of the Working Group and explicitly disallow it from identifying with Transition Port Angeles in any manner.

Affirmation of this Document

In the spirit of the future we wish to facilitate, we affirm our whole-hearted support of this constituent governing document of the Charter of Transition Port Angeles by our signatures:

[signatures]

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